Singapore man with coronavirus-like symptoms dies in Indonesia after testing negative for Covid-19

Indonesia Batam Health Agency on Wednesday (26 February) confirmed the death of a Singapore man with coronavirus-like symptoms.

The 61-year-old Singapore man who has recently returned from Singapore to get a stamp in his passport went to the emergency unit of Awal Bros Hospital in Batam on 20 Feb after he developed symptoms similar to coronavirus infection, according to The Jakarta Post.

After the man was assessed as having a fever and breathing difficulties, he was sent to BP Batam Hospital – the referral hospital for coronavirus – a hospital spokesperson told The Jakarta Post.

The spokesperson said, “He had just returned from Singapore, and he had a fever. We thought that he might have the coronavirus infection, although we did not know for sure. To mitigate the risks, we sent him to BP Batam Hospital, which is the referral hospital for coronavirus.”

The spokesperson added that the decision of referring the patient to the hospital was based on standard operating procedure. The Batam Health Agency agreed on this.

The head of the Batam Health Agency, Didi Kusumajadi, noted, “He was referred [to BP Batam Hospital] because of what we call risk management. This is a term that hospital staff already understand well. It means a patient is referred to another hospital that is more competent in that area.”

Batam Health Agency then sent a sample taken from the patient to a lab on 21 Feb for coronavirus testing, but the lab returned results showing negative for coronavirus.

The patient died on 22 Feb, though the agency said that he died of “another illness”, not Covid-19.

In accordance with Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) procedures in Singapore concerning the virus, the man’s remains have not been released by the hospital and will be handled by Intelligence and Security Directorate at the Riau Islands Police, said Mr Kusumajadi to the media.

He added, “This is a matter of global ethics in relation to Singapore, so the body is still in the morgue.”

The deceased was buried in Batam after a traditional Islamic funeral was held on 22 Feb, reported by The Jakarta Post.

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